My Library turns 50

Writing about books seems to be on my mind at the moment. I was inspired to write this post after reading Tierney’s from Tierney Creates. She posted about the stack of books she had just borrowed from her public library, and how wonderful libraries are. As she says: “So libraries are good places all over the world and librarians are some of the best people on earth (smile).” I soooo agree.

My local library is almost at the end of my street and it’s part of the fabric of the shopping strip and the neighbourhood. It’s only small ~ the building was originally a bank ~ but it fits in many activities. The busiest is probably Storytime, where mums and some dads and babies and toddlers all join in songs and stories. The noise is infectious and the prams lined up like a parking lot.

Lots of people use the library ~ to use the computers and the printer, the wifi, to read the papers, borrow books or just sit in a safe place. And it’s connected to the main library up the hill and along a little bit. You can order books using the online catalogue and pick them up. For people that don’t read hard copies any more (that’s certainly not me!) there are libraries of digital books, comics, audio books and films that are available too, to be accessed at the swish of a library card.

I think public libraries are one of the markers of a civilised society. A society that says that books, knowledge, entertainment are important and should be free to everyone, and is prepared to commit money to making that happen.

So what did I borrow this week? As usual I went in for one and came out with a few…..

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My library system is turning 50. So Happy Birthday!!! πŸŽ‰Β My little library almost didn’t get to join in the celebrations, because in the early 1990’s the council wanted to close the library down. The time was an era of economic rationalism (when isn’t?) and the little shopping centre library just didn’t fit the model. But the residents didn’t want to loose their little library. We got together and demanded that it stay open. We won, thanks to a resident who was in a wheelchair and took the council to the equal opportunity board (or some such place).

The next move for the little library-almost-at-the-end-of-my-street is to have an outside make-over. At the moment it is a construction site, but it will be interesting to see how the library is brought to the outside, so more people can enjoy the space.

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25 thoughts on “My Library turns 50

  1. Let’s hope there will always be libraries, everywhere. Especially, on a selfish note, as my daughter works in one and hopes to continue doing so πŸ™‚

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  2. I love my library too… It used to be closer to home, and there was a lot of free parking in nearby streets, but the building was a bit small, and cramped and dark. Then the council announced it had been *given* a large building in the centre of town by a local benefactor. There was an uproar because many people didn’t want the status quo changing. But I have to say, the new place is gorgeous: central, light, airy, architecturally interesting, spacious, and best of all, the self service checkout machines work! I rarely leave with fewer than half a dozen books. Hurray for libraries!

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    1. i think the atmosphere is an important part of libraries. Cramped and dark doesn’t sound like the most welcoming space, but light, airy and spacious sounds wonderful! They need to be spaces where people feel comfortable in. Our main library, up the hill, had a make-over quite a few years ago and it ended up looking like an academic library ~ very unappealing. Now they have different shelving and configurations and it is much better.

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  3. your little library sounded almost like my library – mine local library is down in the hub – it’s quite small in relation to other libraries in the region (I remember after it was all built, they complained it was too small) – the building also houses the local CAB (citzens advice bureau – not just for citizens…) and a small meeting room…
    I wax and wane on lots of books, at the moment I have art-making kind of books out…but maybe now that winter is creeping up – I will get more OR I might continue reading online/listening online…

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    1. i like that my library is small. The book stock isn’t large, but it always seems to have books that I want to read. i always come out with armfuls! And the central library just up the hill has lots of art books, and other esoteric things that I like to read.

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    1. Do you still read 3 books a week? It would be an impressive book list if we had done it all our lives. And what’s on your reading pile now? We went to the library most weeks too. I still remember running up the stairs. I loved libraries then too!

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      1. Take any thousand or so on my shelves to find my reading list. Currently on Doris Lessing’s ‘The Fifth Child’. No – I couldn’t manage it with all the blogging – but I bet that is the equivalent of a good number of books.

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  4. Anne, I’m so happy you all rallied and saved the library. I’m a strong believer, like you, that libraries should remain open and accessible to everyone. I hope you’ll post again when the exterior is complete. I can’t wait to see what they do.

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    1. I’m curious too. They asked for input from library users. My suggestion was for lots of plants, maybe a vine covered arbour ~ no surprises there! I think they will be limited with what they can do, as it is a footpath as well as the entrance to the library. Maybe they will have Storytime outside, under the shade of the plane tree. That would be nice.

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  5. I like the idea of libraries being part of the community instead of being set apart with a ‘hush’ sign. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately I like to keep my books so I haven’t been to a library since the early 00’s.

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    1. Oh, yes, definitely part of the community. I love the serendipitous nature of my book selecting. I rarely go in with a defined list of what I want to find, but browse and take what I fancy. If I do want to be more specific I use the online catalogue. But I love to keep books too, and I am finding getting rid of them to be very difficult.

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      1. I’ve ‘weeded’ my bookshelves and the books that remain are old, much loved friends. These days though, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle because my eyesight ain’t what it used to be. Amazing how you can carry a whole library in your purse. πŸ˜€

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        1. Electronic devices are amazing (but I do love the heft and feel of a ‘real’ book). I also love the comfort of being surrounded by books that are much loved friends.

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  6. Happy Birthday to your library and thanks for the mention and link! I enjoyed reading about your library (you know how I feel about libraries) and see your Library Stack! It would be fun if everyone regularly posted their library stack – another great way to get future reading ideas πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s a lovely idea. I know you regularly blog about it ~ so thank you for the idea! It would be fun to see what others read. I used to post about the books I had been reading that month, but that habit seems to have fallen by the wayside. May a “Book of the Month” as well as the Library stack. (Too many ideas, too little time!)

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  7. My sewing group meets in the basement of a very small library in a very small town near here. The library is closed to the public during those hours but I get to go up to the quiet, dim space and spend time with the books–magical! Thew told could use more public spaces based on the model of the public libraries.

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    1. That’s a great way to use your library. Isn’t it good that libraries are more than just places to read books (although that is so important too) ~ in complete silence!

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  8. Happy Birthday to your library. Your words “I think public libraries are one of the markers of a civilised society…” and sentiments echo my own. One of my fondest earliest memories is of the library in the small country town where I was born. So many books. It was magical! My last library spoiled my very much… Customs House Library at Sydney’s Circular Quay. I worked across the road. I loved for its books, building and online systems where reserving and borrowing from other libraries in its network was seamless, as well as its E-library of books & magazines.
    Unfortunately now, the libraries I have access to are in town. And like most everything else in town, time spent takes on the nature of errand rather than pleasant diversion.
    Thank you for reminding me of how important libraries and their multi-faceted offerings are.

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    1. Your Customs House Library sounds wonderful. And just across the road! I suppose that most of your reading at the moment is for your course. When you are working and studying it’s hard to find the leisure to explore spaces. But you know the library is there, waiting for you.

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